One of the tastiest fall dishes to make is duck. It can be cooked a variety of ways, whether braised or roasted. One of the best is the French way, avec prunes or with plums These add an earthy sweetness, perfect for the chilly days ahead.
David Tanis knows this and it seems he is a true duck lover as seen in yesterday's New York Times Food section. His A City Kitchen weekly column featured a meat , dear to many foodie's and cooks hearts - duck, He goes mad for the Five Spice infused mahogany lacquered ones from Chinatown, He rhapsodizes about how duck is cooked in southwestern France, French home chefs take the large Musocvy duck whose meat is more like veal, is grilled like steak. Duck legs are used to flavor cassoulets or braised with red wine and prunes.The flavorful fat is used for confit.Mr. Tanis likes to braise the legs with fresh plums and red wine, preferably a dry one. The fruit may be a bit hard to come by right now. The big plump ones are going out of season so aim for the smaller, purpler Italian variety. What's left of them is sauteed in butter ad served with the duck legs.
Is this an easy dish to cook? Braising is a simple method. The meat is to be partially pan cooked before braising however. The legs need to sizzle and brown and then chopped onion is added for more flavor. Tomato paste is also included along with wine and four cups of chicken broth. Mr. Tanis does like duck Chinese style so there is the addition of clove, allspice, cayenne and star anise that are added in the first step . You can omit them if you want a more Gallic flavor.It's braised for thirty to forty minutes or until the legs are tender.At this time the plums can be sauteed in a separate pan. Mr. Tanis also garnishes with pistachios ,lemon zest, parsley ,and chives.
Duck is a tasty dish on its' own. Add spices and fruit to elevate it to another level. It becomes a truly magnificent dish, thanks to Italian plums and Chinese traditional spices.